HAMILTON, Ohio — One school is finding a way to turn its grades from F’s to B’s and C’s.
Richard Allen Academy got F’s across the board in its state report card last year. But the new report card shows some major progress at the public charter school.
How did they do it?
For one thing, students are taught to treat each other like family.
“When kids feel like they are part of something, when they feel like they are connected, you get more out of them because you build a trust factor with them,” said Principal Yolanda Cooper.
Cooper started at Richard Allen Academy last year and has been focused on creating a positive, supportive culture. The district is already noticing changes.
“I look and I see the joy on their faces,” said Deputy Superintendent Aleta Benson. “I hear the discussions in class. I’m able to see the growth that has not occurred in a while.”
Last year, Richard Allen Academy scored F’s in progress, gap closing and overall grade. This year it raised those grades to B, B and C.
“It’s a mindset. You have to change the mindset,” Cooper said. “Students come to school and they think, ‘I just come and I learn.’ Unfortunately some teachers feel, ‘I just give them mediocre and send them on their way.’ But not here at Richard Allen.”
The school focused on improving reading and comprehension with new teaching tools and online programs designed to adjust to the skills of each individual student.
"Being able to establish a calm setting for the students to be able to learn and thrive. Connect with parents in the community. I think that's made all the difference," Benson said.
“It means the world to me. It’s personal to me,” said Benson. “I’m from Hamilton. I came back to Hamilton to try and do something for kids that I felt didn’t get what they deserved.”
Administrators say there’s always room for improvement. Richard Allen Academy did get an F this year in achievement. But Cooper says the report card is proof the school is heading in the right direction.